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underground flex

By Cassie Capewell

2 min read

A Star or a Lonely Dreamer is the newest project from Shane Dylan, Boston’s own pianist/composer/producer triple threat. Dylan beautifully blends jazz and hip hop, featuring live band instrumentation and some of Boston’s best hip hop vocalists on each track.

Dylan and his A-team take us through a series of journal entries, offering a peek into the complex feelings of creators and performers. Jolee Gordon, Red Shaydez, and SeeFour paint both sides of a broken relationship in “Around Me,” and Tashawn Taylor, Evan Wright, and Amanda Shea reflect on love on “In My Solitude.” “Storm” will pump you all the way up (SeeFour’s second verse is valid), and on “Moon Girl,” one of the album's more stripped-down interludes, Dylan’s sister shares about the loneliness of introspection and finding peace with yourself.

Dylan said, “the album is about that contrast between the crazy amazing feeling you get as a performer, up on stage with the crowd and the bright lights, and then when it’s over, and the lights turn off, just being another person trying to get through life.”

Running through the whole project, in addition to Dylan’s signature keys, are the horns, which he calls the emblematic sound of the album. The instrumentation shines just as bright as the vocals, an intentional feature of the project.

“I really tried to combine both of those styles while still being true to both of them,” said Dylan. “There’s obviously jazz elements, but I also wanted to give the instruments a moment to shine. This might be the first time fans of either genre hear this music, and these instruments, and these artists.”

Dylan called the album a tribute to the city: “It’s something I’m super passionate about, bringing together different people, getting a lot of people involved, and making connections. I really believe you get back what you give out. I’ve seen so many people help me without asking for anything in return, so I’m always thinking of what I can do to help other people.”

Between the multi-player live band, the numerous vocalists featured on the tracks, and the behind-the-scenes team of familiar faces, each individual perspective creates a dynamic and welcomed relatability.

I am Moon Girl. I am In My Solitude. I am Storm. I am a Star. I am a Lonely Dreamer. And I bet you are too.

A Star or a Lonely Dreamer is out now on all platforms.

*Originally Published in Boston Compass Newspaper #141 December 2021


Check out all the art and columns of December's Boston Compass at


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